Your galaxy saving, ragtag group of heroes are back again for the second instalment of Guardians of the Galaxy, bringing with it popular tracks from the 70s, fluorescent lighting and aliens galore.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (“GOTG2“) sees the return of Marvel’s cosmic guardians, Peter Quill a.k.a Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and ‘Baby’ Groot (Vin Diesel), as they endeavour to save the Universe, again.
It came as no surprise that right from the beginning, it was Baby Groot that stole the show, with his pint-sized adorableness and wicked moves (yes, that’s right, we’re given another glimpse of dancing Baby Groot!). Unlike the first film, which placed more significance on Peter and Gamora, GOTG2 provided plenty more screen time to the other members of the group, namely Rocket and Yondu (Michael Rooker). Through small glimpses of their back-story, as well as reasons behind their respective personalities, we are given more insight into their characters and are able to feel much more of a connection with the pair unlike in the first film. Plus, because of Yondu, we are able to see the ‘Italian Stallion’ himself, Sylvester Stallone, in the film, as a character who may end up being quite significant in future films.
This was similar in the case of Drax, who, while predominantly acting as the film’s comic relief, also showed a more ‘human’ side in the film. His slightly offensive teasing of Mantis (Pom Klementieff) brought out many laughs and sealed his fate as the group clown but it is his quiet and melancholic reminiscence about his lost family that truly captivated us.
Of course, Gamora’s misguided sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), also played a significant part in the film, being portrayed as less aggressive and actually quite endearing in some strange way, compared to her personality in the first film. It was quite satisfying to watch the sisters finally hash out their differences, revealing the true reason for Nebula’s hatred towards Gamora.
In this way, each of the Guardians were given a decent chunk of screen time across both GOTG films. While this should feel satisfactory, as a viewer who enjoys character development during the course of a film, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of character development, particularly in terms of Peter and Gamora, who virtually appear to be exactly the same as they were in the first film.
The basis of the GOTG2 is on Peter’s heritage and his relationship with Ego (Kurt Russell), which held so much potential story wise. Instead, the relationship felt rushed without any real substance. Similarly, both the previous film and GOTG2 made it seem as if there was a love-hate relationship between Peter and Gamora, the chemistry between them entertaining due to Peter’s obvious attraction and Gamora’s cold rejections towards Peter’s advances. It felt like a let down for Gamora to show less hostility toward Peter, going so far as to hint at some reciprocation of Peter’s feelings, thereby succumbing to being just another damsel taken by the rugged good-looks of her leader.
The Guardians thrive on being a disorderly group of heroes who happen to pull off being galactic saviours. Unlike The Avengers, the Guardians are expected to make blunders, struggle to find their footing and miraculously save the day. This was definitely shown in GOTG2, with more emphasis placed on the bickering and banter between the group, which I took as Marvel’s way of illustrating the slightly dysfunctional but familial bond the group has. It was incredibly predictable for the group to bicker and split up, only to realise at the very end that they were, indeed, a family. Haven’t we seen this somewhere before?
Of course, being a Marvel film, especially one that focuses on the psychedelic and colourful, it would be difficult to find fault with the film. As with the first film, the visuals were especially breathtaking and stunning, with attractive colours that made for a visual treat, particularly in 3D. However, I was less than thrilled by a lack of awesome technology and weaponry. Seeing Yondu control his mystical arrow by whistling was cool but it would have been nice to see more. To be honest, the film could have done with a lot more time in space too, another key feature about the GOTG series that seemed to have been kept minimal in this sequel film. At least the awesome mix soundtrack of the film was still awesome and rather catchy.
As it stands, the GOTG series will always be an entertaining watch for its portrayal of seemingly underdog Marvel superheroes, fun-filled galactic adventures, affable humour and an all around good time by way of fantastic visuals and an unforgettable soundtrack. Despite needing some minor improvements (in my opinion), GOTG2 was almost as good as the first film (some might say that it’s even better due to Baby Groot playing a big part) and certainly paves the way for future Marvel films.
Note: Stay for the entertaining post credit scenes.